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Occupy the Corporations: Stop the Impostors!

On January 21, as a part of our Nationwide Day of Action to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and end corporate rule, Public Citizen is working with local activists to ‘apprehend’ corporate impostors posing as ‘people’ with the same constitutional rights as the rest of us.

We’ll be exposing these impostors to the light of day in cities and towns throughout the nation, and together with local activists we’ll be calling on their elected officials to support a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United and end corporate domination of our democracy. Your action can be as simple as holding signs (we’ve got samples below!) and gathering petitions in front of a corporate target, or you can use one of the ideas we describe below.

Our Recommendation: Conduct an Investigation—Expose the Impostors! 

We believe that focusing our attention on a few important targets with outsized influence, those most responsible for the huge problems facing our society, will have the greatest impact. So on January 21, find a local branch of one of the corporate giants masquerading as “persons” and using their money to undermine our democratic process. Bank of America and Chevron are a couple of great examples.

We’ve come up with some ideas and tips to get you started in conducting your investigation and interviewing your corporate “person.” Take a look at them and sign up today!

Other Recommendations for Actions

Citizens Posse: In 2010, a Citizens Posse was organized to effect a “citizens’ arrest” of greedy insurance companies that stood in the way of health care reform. They, and other short-sighted big corporations, are only empowered to effectively buy more influence by Citizens United!

Occupy the Kochs: Koch Industries (and the billionaire brothers behind it) are THE pre-eminent funders of faux-grassroots campaigns to gut vital environmental, consumer and worker protections, and the as politicians who support those efforts. Activists in the past have Quarantined the Kochs and held Guerrilla Drive-Ins outside their events and offices.

Corporate Crime Scene: Check out a recent action by Greenpeace in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Crime Scene: False Impersonation of a Human Being” has a nice ring to it, and regardless could make a nice sign for your event…

Musical Actions and Flash Mobs: Target got a lot of negative attention when it gave $150,000 to an extreme anti-worker, anti-gay candidate in Minnesota. Citizen activists responded with a spirited performance, Target Ain’t People. The message applies to many other corporations, obviously.

Banner Hangs: Always an excellent way to get visibility. “ExxonMobil=Person?” for instance. Here’s a great example from the Rainforest Action Network.

Occupy Corporate Offices: For the more daring among you, recent anti-foreclosure actions against Bank of America by New Bottom Line might be worth checking out.

Human Banner examples: Endangered Freedoms; Tax the 1%; and Step It Up.

Resources to help you plan your investigation

Flyer for Occupy the Corporations

Here is a sample video of what your street theatre and rally could look like. We also encourage you to film your own street theatre prior to January 21 and share it with us ( and your friends to build momentum for the day’s actions.

Script to our sample skit

Sample “personhood” checklist

Signs: “I Am a Person,” “Not a Person,” “End Corporate Rule” and “Corporations Are Not People.”

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